Today's Fiji Times - the FSC say....at last..... they they caused the river pollution. It's been going on for decades I expect, so why weren't they fined? Thank you to the students of All Saints Secondary School for persisting in analysing the water quality of the Qawa River and alerting the adults that this is a problem that is not going away.
FSC takes blame for polluted river
By Theresa Ralogaivau
Monday, November 24, 2008
THE Fiji Sugar Corporation has accepted blame for pollution in the Qawa River after test results showed it dumped an excessive amount of untreated waste and toxic substance into it, killing marine life.
Test results presented to the Labasa mill management showed there was a heavy sugar discharge into the river.
Tests showed it was at an appaling 470,000 mg/litre when the normal standard was nil sugar presence.
Hot water poured into the Qawa River after being used for cooling purposes in the mill raised the river temperature, killing river plants and vapourising useful gases.
The bio chemical oxygen demand of a river, which is a gauge of the effectiveness of an industry's waste water treatment, showed 18,480 mg/litre when the accepted standard was 40mg/litre.
Macuata Rural Local Authority board secretary Rakesh Kumar said the river was in a bad state because of the high level of pollutant being dumped into it by FSC.
"Mostly in pristine rivers the BOD is 1mg/litre, in moderately polluted rivers, it has a BOD range of two 8mg/litre yet the amount in the river is beyond comparison even with the 600 mg/litre for untreated sewerage," Mr Kumar said.
There was also an unacceptable high level of nitrogen and ethanol discharge along with calcium, which is found in lime, used in the mill's production process.
The results explained that the stench emitted from the river, and which permeated the atmosphere for miles around, had a distinct rotten-egg smell which is a relevant feature of hydrogen sulphide.
Test samples were taken in two stages from eight spots along the river. The first stage was before the mill resumed crushing and after crush started. "Prior to the mill opening for crushing the BOD was low, however, there was a drastic increase to 18,480 after the mill started," Mr Kumar said.
Tests were carried out after All Saints Secondary School students and hundreds of residents along the river complained of headache.
"What we need to remember is that this management alone cannot be blamed for the problem because it has been there for decades,' Mr Kumar said.
Mill manager Uday Nand said the FSC was going to put in place changes to save the Qawa River.
"We will work together to get the things improved," he said.